Creative Careers welcomed Hot Vox, a music promotion company to their weekly Employer insight slot. Amy Kinsella gave a brilliant in-depth presentation about the role of a music promoter generally and specifically to Hot Vox. She started out working for Hot Vox as an industry placement student and then was offered a full time position as a Senior Music Promoter.
Bank of all information
Music Promoters are the bank of all information, the middle man and as such the event organiser. Basically responsible for all that you could think of to make a successful event happen. From sourcing everything from venues to pa systems to support as well as following artists around the country. Being the main point of contact for technical issues or band problems - a true bank of knowledge! Amy went on to say that a promoter would also attend the events or at least get a stage rep to go on their behalf and that part of the role is all about fighting fires! Ensuring the event itself runs smoothly.
Ticketing is a huge part of the promoters work and also the main income source as well. Making sure tickets are available at certain vendors and moving them from one vendor to another, keeping track of which type of allocation of tickets are sold where and quantities.
Music promoters are also responsible for the creation of promotional assets from posters, social media posts to press releases and listings. Promotion of a show is through selling tickets to a fan base definitely not to build a fan base nor find a fan base. Music promoters are responsible for the marketing platforms ensuring that ticketing is easily accessible. All of which has to be approved by the artists themselves - a lot of toing and froing!
It is already apparent that the role of the music promoter is very diverse and all encompassing and the list of duties and responsibilities just continues with knowing what size venue to book for which size artist and sometimes Amy said it was worth having a gamble to make sure that the venue size is large enough to sell all the tickets.
I liked how she said that in a nutshell, a music promoter books bands for gigs and goes to them! It is so much, much more than that!
Promoters and bands
It is interesting to see the different types of promoters there are from in-house ones who have a calendar for a particular venue which can be used for all sorts of events, not just gigs. You move up to regional promoters who can have multiple venues, operate within them and liaise with in-house promoters to fill them up. The largest kind are those national promoters which have a variety of venues and also arrange the large festivals. But ultimately the promoters all have the same goal which is to arrange gigs and ensure ticket sales and full venues!
When we think about different size bands that music promoters work with, then there are the grass roots/DIY bands which are smaller bands just starting out and keen to get known in shows within London. Hot Vox is generally a grass roots promoter working with lots of different venues mainly across London such as The Grace, Jazz Cafe, Lucky Pig, Dome, Notting hill arts club, the Garage, the list is endless.
There are Buzz bands called this because they are the buzz of the music industry, perhaps not known by everyone but certainly making a stir within the industry itself and getting attention from different agents and growing fast. National bands like Arctic Monkeys with their sell out tours across the country.
Generally a smaller band, or new artists go straight to the promoter or venue whereas the Buzz bands and national artists would have a manager or booking agent. No matter how big or small an artist you are you will always have to go through some sort of promoter to get a live gig.
For Amy her best bit is sitting at the back of an event she has organised with a cold beer and just watching it all happening; everyone having a great time and enjoying themselves. That for her is her favourite thing.
Covid changesCovid obviously hit the music industry hard and although the industry is hoping to bounce right back it is slower than it was. Hot Vox had to cancel 250 shows during Covid but during the lockdowns it made bold choices and offered interesting alternatives to music fans in order to reinstate gigs, artists and keep up the fan base. One important charitable event that they took part in 2020 was fundraising for War Child UK which helps children in areas of conflict. They had been helping War Child every 2nd Sunday of a month but this was something new and different and they started live streaming shows and set up phone lines and live streaming to raise money. Lots of awards and prizes for fundraising such as dyeing hair purple, round of drinks, t-shirts and much more. Through this live streaming and fundraising they raised £80,000.
Industry opportunitiesHot Vox offers two work placement roles: a junior promoter role and a sound engineer role. These roles changed considerably during Covid, however students were able to be involved in the revamp of the Hot Vox website which offered promotional content, pop quizzes, Spotify playlists and interviews as to why each playlist was created, created gifs, and social media and posters. Students were also involved in the live streaming at the Cargo Rooms in terms of sound engineering and filming of these events.
Great insight from Jasmine who has just finished a junior music promoter placement year at Hot Vox. She is now completing her final year in BA (Hons) Film Studies and Creative Writing at University of Portsmouth. She highlighted that Covid made her year out a strange one but she had lots of meetings via google hangouts and was involved in many new projects that might not have been possible prior to Covid. She loved her year out and although she was not doing music in her degree, she is an avid gig goer and knew she wanted a year out. She found the placement year challenging and it definitely pushed her out of her comfort zone but all in a very positive way which increased her confidence and skill set. Working in a professional environment, improving skills that she definitely wouldn’t have achieved in a part time job. She was able to contribute ideas at Hot Vox one which stood out was suggesting if you donate money to War Child you are entered in a draw to get a ticket for Isle of Wight festival! Her advice to second year students was to apply even if you don't have the knowledge, you can always catch up and learn as you go.
Amy ended by saying to send through your CV and cover letter. They prefer students within the London area - in or around London - just because there are a lot of late nights and travelling home at that time can be difficult but don’t let this put you off, give it a go and get in touch!